Louisa Garbo

Name:  Louisa Garbo

Status: WMO Fellow Candidate

Entry Date: 01/11/2018

City / Country: Washington / USA

Field of Expertise: Law and Conflict Resolution

Expertise / Research: Louisa Garbo is an accomplished land use planner with extensive experience in land use, strategic and policy planning. Louisa is a certified planner both in Canada and in the United States. She worked in different jurisdictions in Arizona for more than eleven years before moving back to Canada for the Director’s position with the City of Brandon’s Planning & Building Safety Department in Manitoba. Her desire to live in the west coast has brought her to Washington State, she is now practicing land use planning and community development in Kitsap County. Louisa’s passion in sustainable design has also led her to become an accredited member (LEED Green Associate) with U.S. Green Building Council. While back in Canada, Louisa became an elected member on the Leadership Board of the Canadian Green Building Council, the Manitoba Chapter, in 2016. 

Louisa was credited for her vision, her collaboration and creative problem-solving approaches. Louisa has proven success in change management and has transformed her department to become more effective and efficient through the implementation of Lean Six-Sigma principals and the Red Tape Reduction program. Land use planning, by its nature, deals with conflicting and competing interests, regardless of the scale of the development proposal. Louisa forged many meaningful partnerships with the stakeholder groups and the community in her career, from the Brandon Chamber of Commerce to the members of tribal councils and Puget Sound Regional Council in Washington. Louisa promotes meaningful citizen engagement processes by spearheading programs such as the Brandon Design Studio – a vehicle for public outreach in Brandon, overhauling the department’s webpage to be more user-friendly and by utilizing various social media to reach out to the constituents.  Louisa advocates creative, innovative and collaborative approaches to solutions; she mentors her staff on negotiation, conflict resolution, emotional intelligence and community-building, skills that are necessary to serve the diverse community.

During her time in Arizona, Louisa served as a volunteer at the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, Consumer Fraud Division; it was where she obtained her mediation training.  Upon the completion of her training, Louisa was appointed by the Maricopa County Justice Court as a pro bono Mediator where she served for a few years; she was subsequently appointed by the same Court to be a Hearing Officer. Her court experiences afforded her the sensitivity in handling conflicts at various levels. During her time in Brandon, in an attempt to address the high cost of frequent arbitrations between union and management as well as personnel issues, Louisa introduced a mediation pilot program to the City of Brandon. Louisa is a certified mediator (Q.Med) with ADR Institute of Canada; more recently, Louisa has also become a fellow candidate with the World Mediation Organization. 

Louisa holds a Master’s Degree in City Planning, a Juris Doctor, and a Master’s Degree in Negotiation, Conflict Resolution, and Peacebuilding. Louisa is currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Mediation and Conflict Resolution through Euclid University – a treaty university with the United Nations – her particular focus is on cross-border land use development conflicts.

Your Professional Vision: I hope to connect with peers in the conflict resolution and mediation fields, learn from their experiences, collaborate with them, and to someday participate in activities where I could make a difference by bringing peace or resolutions to the community I live in.

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